Salem police say sexually explicit images that were shared with a student and prompted a Judson Middle School teacher’s placement on administrative leave were sent by a student pretending to be the teacher.

The conclusion comes more than two months after Judson Principal Alicia Kruska notified school families of the district’s own investigation of the teacher based on a complaint about “an inappropriate image” being circulated on social media.

District spokesman Aaron Harada said the following day on March 29 that teacher Dean Wright was placed on leave while the district investigated.

The Salem Police Department that same day received a report about allegations that a Judson Middle School teacher had sent sexually explicit images to at least one student on the app Snapchat, according to department spokeswoman Angela Hedrick.

Salem detectives determined “after an extensive investigation into the allegations” that the teacher did not send the images, and they were instead sent by a Salem-Keizer student pretending to be the teacher, Hedrick said.

The student who police say sent the image was referred to the Marion County Juvenile Department and charged with unlawful dissemination of an intimate image.

Hedrick said Salem police would not release the name of the victim in the case and do not identify minors involved in criminal investigations. Juvenile court records are generally confidential under state law.

The school district’s investigation is still proceeding, Harada said Tuesday.

“The staff member will remain on administrative leave while the district completes its review. This is standard practice,” he said in an email.

Wright declined to comment on the incident when contacted by Salem Reporter.

“I don’t really have a whole lot to say other than what the police have already stated,” he said.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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